Student Writing presents an accessible and thought-provoking study of academic writing practices. Informed by 'composition' research from the US and 'academic literacies studies' from the UK, the book challenges current official discourse on writing as a 'skill'. Lillis argues for an approach which sees student writing as social practice.
The book draws extensively on a three-year study with ten non-traditional students in higher education and their experience of academic writing. Using case study material - including literacy history interviews, extended discussions with students about their writing of discipline specific essays, and extracts from essays - Lillis identifies the following as three significant dimensions to academic writing:
* Access to higher education and to its language and literacy representational resources
* Regulation of meaning making in academic writing
* Desire for participation in higher education and for choices over ways of meaning in academic writing.
Student Writing: access, regulation, desire raises questions about why academics write as they do, who benefits from such writing, which meanings are valued and how, on what terms 'outsiders' get to be 'insiders' and at what costs.
Theresa M. Lillis is Lecturer in language and education at the Centre for Language and Communications at the Open University
'Despite the seemingly ever-increasing concern with widening participation to higher education and extending opportunities to older adults, it is surprising how little impact the work on academic literacies has had. If there is a text that can help redress that balance and encourage a wider debate, then this is it.' - Richard Edwards, Studies in the Education of Adults, Vol. 33 (2) 2001
'Lillis' work makes a valuable contribution to a process of re-evaluation which is long overdue.' - Elaine Millard, Teaching in Higher Education